Mexican Holidays- Part I: Tulum, Yucatan Peninsula
Posted on: February 3, 2011. Comments ( 6 )

Author: Mrs. Radhika Mohan, Educational Consultant

Part 2

Tulum’s famous image: Temple of the Wind overlooking the crystal blue waters; the beach is just below

Nature has never been so blissful before.
The world holds many a secret more than folklore”

The most difficult thing in this world is to contain one’s excitement. Extreme excitement. Rama Ramkumar—known among close circles as Ra-Ra—would endorse this statement and sign it in blood. Flying 39,000 feet above the ground in an Air India-A320 airliner, Ra-Ra was headed for the Indira Gandhi International Airport at New Delhi having taken off from Chennai at ten minutes past six on a beautiful Sunday evening. Flight number AI 9539 was expected at IGIA at 9.00 the same evening.

Rama had begun her career in fashion modeling and three years later received offers to do ad-commercials on television. She had been the director’s instant favorite and the producer’s safe bet. She quickly moved on to bigger brands and bigger brands meant larger salary. Her work day was full with photo sessions, ad shootings and regular fitness programs. She badly wanted a break and decided to discuss plans with her manager. Time was right as she had not taken up any new endorsements. Two days before she was to finish shooting for her final project in the pipeline for that season, she had been paid a visit by her manager.

Flight number AI 101 from New Delhi landed with squeaking tires and a smoking touchdown at John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York. The Air India-77W aircraft had lifted off the Indian runway at forty minutes past midnight and arrived at the United States of America, a day and five hours later. Ra-Ra had been thinking about the manager’s visit during the three-and-three-quarters-an-hour connection wait in New Delhi.

It had been the most unexpected visit of her lifetime. What came later was the peak proposal in her career that year. She had been asked to do an ad-commercial for a major textile company’s Mexican subsidiary. If she accepted the offer she would have to leave on the next flight to Cancun, Mexico. She would have been insane to turn down such an offer. It would be a pleasure-cum-business-trip. She would be free to explore the beauty of Mexico after completing a seven-day official schedule, she had been told. Ten days later she was at Anna International, Meenambakkam.  Standing in a queue for her boarding pass, holding her ticket to Cancun. The company had paid for every single coin of the 96,866-rupee-round trip.

The connection to Cancun from New York would not happen for until six hours and fifteen minutes. Rama had been asked to contact the textile company’s New York branch office for some specific details regarding her stay in Mexico. For this she had planned for one of her ‘model’ friends staying in New York to pick her up from JFK Intl. and drive her to the branch office after a shower and breakfast at her friend’s apartment in NY. Once the office work was done they had had a nice long chat at a cafe a few blocks away the airport, till she was due to catch the 12.00 PM connection to Cancun from NY.

At 3.32 PM, American Airlines Flight# AA 1671 taxied to a halt on one of Cancun International’s runways. Two minutes later, she was sitting in an Airport shuttle plying towards the Immigrant’s check out gate. Ra-Ra felt a strange tingle in her blood—the excitement of being in a new land and a sense of freedom, being thousands of miles away from home.

The shooting schedule had gone well and her Indian charm had worked even better in the Mexican studios. Ra-Ra was now in Tulum in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.

Tulum, set in a background of lush, bougainvillea-filled jungles, lies an hour south of Plays Del Carmen and is a 90-minute-drive from mainland Cancun. The town is divided into three separate sections—the Mayan ruins, the hotel zone and the pueblo (small city or a large town). Popular with tour buses from Cancun, the Mayan ruins, some of the best preserved and most visited in the Yucatan, perch on cliffs along the coast. The Tulum ruins are the third best-visited archeological site in Mexico with busloads of tourists from Cancun and cruise ships docked at Cozumel or Plays. A stay in Tulum means biking around, or exploring swimming opportunities off white, sandy beaches and subterranean sinkholes. The clear Caribbean waters also allows for great diving.

For a bunch of old stone buildings, Tulum is a particularly impressive site, perched on top of limestone cliffs overlooking the turquoise waters of the Caribbean below. Tulum is a walled city, and the first time Ra-Ra was there it took her breath away. The walls on three sides enclosing the city oozed a defensive look, and averaged 18 feet thick and between 9 and 15 feet high. Entrance is via one of the original five tunnels through the wall. El Castillo, a large temple, is the site’s biggest structure, nearby the Temple of the Descending God. It was late afternoon and there weren’t too many people. Ra-Ra felt wonderful sitting in the sun on the temple’s platform with the waves crashing below, imagining what it must have been like, years ago.

The Mayan civilization appears to have had its first home in Guatemala located in Central America at the southern tip of Mexico between the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, where there are more than 1,000 classified Mayan sites. Their civilization had existed for hundreds of years, from around 100 A.D. until the arrival of the Spaniards, and seems to have been devoted, for the most part, to the building of strange architectural forms, erecting giant monuments of stone, in the form of temples, pyramids and palaces. The classical period of the Mayan Empire came to an end in about 900 A.D. when many of the cities in Guatemala were abandoned and there was a migration towards Mexico and the Yucatan peninsula. Tulum was a post-Classic city built much later than the Classic era when Mayan architectural styles and arts like stone-cutting flourished. Ra-Ra noted that heavy stucco had been used to cover exposed rough spots.

All her while in Tulum, Ra-Ra stayed in the Cabanas La Luna, the second best of over sixty-five hotels in Tulum. Although Ra-Ra had loved to relax in the tranquil beaches of Tulum with long afternoon naps, she had also traveled to its equally exotic neighborhoods.

Neighborhoods like no other city in the world had.

Part 2

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Comments (6)


    Nitin Dhamale says:

    Great Write-up, I had visited this place in 2004, this article refreshed the memories

    Kavyalatha Rao says:

    Great Place. have to visit once

    Kavyalatha Rao says:

    Great Place. shall visit once.

    Venkatesh Kumaran says:


    Srinivas says:

    Details about place are captured well. Flight details could have been avoided.

    Balamurugan says:

    Great. Very nice, Feel as though I personally visited.

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